Billy Porter’s latest music video comes with a warning: “The following video contains extremely liberal content.”
The Tony- and Grammy-winning Kinky Boots star puts a powerful post-Trump twist on “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair,” a showstopper from the 1949 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific.
Directed by Kena Tangi Dorsey and shot on location in downtown L.A., the video opens with happy footage from Porter’s wedding to Adam Smith, but the mood quickly shifts to show how Trump has popped their bubble of marital bliss.
“The election did a number on me,” Porter told NewNowNext last year. “It did on all us, I think. I feel like we’re in a place where we have to speak truth to power, and the only way I know how to resist is creatively and artistically. Hearts and minds can be changed by the arts, and that’s why they’re under attack.”
“We gonna wash that man out of our hair—where the shampoo?” Porter raps in his fully woke remake. “This country got split ends. Get a damn clue!” Among other hair-raising metaphors, he also suggests that America “needs a lace front.”
The Broadway star recorded “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair” for his latest album, Billy Porter Presents: The Soul of Richard Rodgers, which soulfully tweaks Rodgers classics. “There were things on it that were semi-political that I took even more in that direction,” Porter says. “’I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair’ was going to be a sassy duet with a girl, but it became a direct comment on this administration.”
“James Baldwin says, ‘An artist’s job is to disturb the peace!’” Porter writes on Instagram. “I take my job very seriously. Get your war clothes on, kids, it’s time to fight!”
The video, which also shows Porter accepting the Vito Russo Award at the GLAAD Media Awards, ends with a quote from Frederick Douglass: “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”
Wash him out, dry him out, below.